The pilot who died after his small aircraft crashed in the Talladega National Forest has been identified.
John Lawrence Gilbert Jr., 21, is believed to have died from blunt force trauma, according to the Associated Press. The Cleburne County Coroner, Rudy Rooks, made the determination. An autopsy is being performed.
Officials say the Piper PA-28-140, headed to Cobb County from Pell City, AL, crashed in the Talladega National Forest.
The wreckage was found Friday afternoon just north of Heflin, AL, directly across the Georgia border, said Steve Swafford, Cleburne County's director of emergency management.
The Civil Air Patrol had been looking for the Piper PA-28-140 after it did not arrive as scheduled 11:30 p.m. Thursday at McCollum Field in Cobb County. The cause of the crash is not known, though heavy rains blanketed the Southeast on Christmas Eve.
Swafford said the tail number, N1277T, matched that of the missing plane, which is registered to Grills Aviation Inc. in Alabama.
--The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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